Cassidy Hutchinson says she was ‘scared’ about Trump’s plan to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6

Yahoo! News

Cassidy Hutchinson says she was ‘scared’ about Trump’s plan to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6

David Knowles, Senior Editor – June 28, 2022

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified before the House select committee on Tuesday that she was “scared” when she learned about plans for Trump to go to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to press his assertion that he had not lost the 2020 election.

Hutchinson, a key witness in the Jan. 6 select committee’s investigation into the Capitol riot and the former president’s role in it, recounted a Jan. 2 meeting with then-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

“As Mr. Giuliani and I were walking to his vehicle that evening, he looked at me and said something to the effect of, ‘Gosh, are you excited for the 6th? It’s going to be a great day.’ And I remember saying, ‘Rudy, can you explain what’s happening on the 6th?’” Hutchinson testified. “He responded something to the effect of, ‘We’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great. The president is going to be there, he’s going to look powerful. He’s going to be with the members. He’s going to be with the senators. Talk to the chief about it, talk to the chief about it. He knows about it.’”

Cassidy Hutchinson testifies at a House select committee hearing on Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson testifies at a House select committee hearing on Tuesday. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The testimony provided the first eyewitness account that the Trump White House had indeed planned for the then president to personally go to the U.S. Capitol in his bid to block the certification of the Electoral College vote showing he had lost.

Hutchinson continued her testimony, saying she then returned to the West Wing and asked Meadows about Giuliani’s comments.

“I just had an interesting conversation with Rudy, Mark. Sounds like we’re going to go to the Capitol,” she told Meadows. “He didn’t look up from his phone and said something to the effect of, ‘There’s a lot going on, Cass, but I don’t know, things might get real, real bad on January 6th.”

Meadows, who perhaps had more direct knowledge of Trump’s intentions than any other White House staff member, initially provided text messages to the committee, then refused to testify further in the investigation.

Cassidy Hutchinson during her prerecorded testimony as seen at the House select committee hearing.
Hutchinson in her prerecorded testimony as seen at the House select committee hearing on Tuesday. (House TV)

Hutchinson told the committee that learning of the plan for Trump to go to the Capitol, where his supporters would later stage a riot in an effort to block the certification of the election, frightened her.

“In the days before January 2nd I was apprehensive about the 6th. I had heard general plans for a rally. I had heard tentative movements to potentially go to the Capitol, but when hearing Rudy’s take on January 6th and then Mark’s response, that was the first, that evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous for what could happen on January 6th, and I had a deeper concern for what was happening with the planning aspects of it.”

U.S. Supreme Court takes aim at separation of church and state

Reuters

U.S. Supreme Court takes aim at separation of church and state

Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung – June 28, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court has chipped away at the wall separating church and state in a series of new rulings, eroding American legal traditions intended to prevent government officials from promoting any particular faith.

In three decisions in the past eight weeks, the court has ruled against government officials whose policies and actions were taken to avoid violating the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment prohibition on governmental endorsement of religion – known as the “establishment clause.”

The court on Monday backed a Washington state public high school football coach who was suspended by a local school district for refusing to stop leading Christian prayers with players on the field after games.

On June 21, it endorsed taxpayer money paying for students to attend religious schools under a Maine tuition assistance program in rural areas lacking nearby public high schools.

On May 2, it ruled in favor of a Christian group that sought to fly a flag emblazoned with a cross at Boston city hall under a program aimed at promoting diversity and tolerance among the city’s different communities.

The court’s conservative justices, who hold a 6-3 majority, in particular have taken a broad view of religious rights. They also delivered a decision on Friday that was hailed by religious conservatives – overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide – though that case did not involve the establishment clause.

Cornell Law School professor Michael Dorf said the court’s majority appears skeptical of government decision-making premised on secularism.

“They regard secularism, which for centuries has been the liberal world’s understanding of what it means to be neutral, as itself a form of discrimination against religion,” Dorf said of the conservative justices.

In Monday’s ruling, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that the court’s aim was to prevent public officials from being hostile to religion as they navigate the establishment clause. Gorsuch said that “in no world may a government entity’s concerns about phantom violations justify actual violations of an individuals First Amendment rights.”

‘WALL OF SEPARATION’

It was President Thomas Jefferson who famously said in an 1802 letter that the establishment clause should represent a “wall of separation” between church and state. The provision prevents the government from establishing a state religion and prohibits it from favoring one faith over another.

In the three recent rulings, the court decided that government actions intended to maintain a separation of church and state had instead infringed separate rights to free speech or the free exercise of religion also protected by the First Amendment.

But, as liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the Maine case, such an approach “leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation.”

Opinions vary over to how much flexibility government officials have in allowing religious expression, whether by public employees, on public land or by people during an official proceeding. Those who favor a strict separation of church and state are concerned that landmark Supreme Court precedents, including a 1962 ruling that prohibited prayer in public schools, could be imperiled.

“It’s a whole new door that (the court) has opened to what teachers, coaches and government employees can do when it comes to proselytizing to children,” said Nick Little, legal director for the Center for Inquiry, a group promoting secularism and science.

Lori Windham, a lawyer with the religious liberty legal group Becket, said the court’s decisions will allow for greater religious expression by individuals without undermining the establishment clause.

“Separation of church and state continues in a way that protects church and state. It stops the government from interfering with churches but it also protects diverse religious expression,” Windham added.

Most of the religious-rights rulings in recent years involved Christian plaintiffs. But the court also has backed followers of other religions including a Muslim woman in 2015 who was denied a retail sales job because she wore a head scarf for religious reasons and a Buddhist death row inmate in 2019 who wanted a spiritual adviser present at his execution in Texas.

The court also sided with both Christian and Jewish congregations in challenges based on religious rights to governmental restrictions such as limits on public gatherings imposed as public safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nicole Stelle Garnett, a Notre Dame Law School professor who joined a brief filed with the justices backing the football coach, said the court was merely making clear that governments must treat religious people the same as everyone else.

Following Monday’s ruling, many issues relating to religious conduct in schools may be litigated anew under the court’s rationale that the conduct must be “coercive” in order to raise establishment clause concerns.

“Every classroom,” Garnett said, “is a courtroom.”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone)

June 24, 2022: The Day Chief Justice Roberts Lost His Court

The New York Times

June 24, 2022: The Day Chief Justice Roberts Lost His Court

Adam Liptak – June 25, 2022

John Roberts is sworn in as chief justice of the United States by Justice John Paul Stevens as his wife, Jane, holds a Bible and as President George W. Bush looks on in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Aug. 29, 2005. (Doug Mills/ The New York Times)
John Roberts is sworn in as chief justice of the United States by Justice John Paul Stevens as his wife, Jane, holds a Bible and as President George W. Bush looks on in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Aug. 29, 2005. (Doug Mills/ The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — In the most important case of his 17-year tenure, Chief Justice John Roberts found himself entirely alone.

He had worked for seven months to persuade his colleagues to join him in merely chipping away at Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. But he was outflanked by the five justices to his right, who instead reduced Roe to rubble.

In the process, they humiliated the nominal leader of the court and rejected major elements of his jurisprudence.

The moment was a turning point for the chief justice. Just two years ago, after the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy made him the new swing justice, he commanded a kind of influence that sent experts hunting for historical comparisons. Not since 1937 had the chief justice also been the court’s fulcrum, able to cast the decisive vote in closely divided cases.- ADVERTISEMENT -https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-10-1/html/r-sf-flx.html

Roberts mostly used that power to nudge the court to the right in measured steps, understanding himself to be the custodian of the court’s prestige and authority. He avoided what he called jolts to the legal system, and he tried to decide cases narrowly.

But that was before a crucial switch. When Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative appointed by former President Donald Trump, succeeded Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal icon, after her death in 2020, Roberts’ power fizzled.

“This is no longer John Roberts’ court,” Mary Ziegler, a law professor and historian at the University of California, Davis, said Friday.

The chief justice is now in many ways a marginal figure. The five other conservatives are impatient and ambitious, and they do not need his vote to achieve their goals. Voting with the court’s three liberals cannot be a particularly appealing alternative for the chief justice, not least because it generally means losing.

Roberts’ concurring opinion in Friday’s decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, illustrated his present and perhaps future unhappy lot. He had tried for seven months to persuade a single colleague to join his incremental approach in the case, starting with carefully planned questioning when the case was argued in December. He failed utterly.

In the end, the chief justice filed a concurring opinion in which he spoke for no one but himself.

“It leaves one to wonder whether he is still running the show,” said Allison Orr Larsen, a law professor at the College of William & Mary.

The chief justice will face other challenges. Although Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said that “nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion,” both liberal and conservative members of the court expressed doubts.

Justice Clarence Thomas, for instance, wrote in a concurring opinion that the court should go on to overrule three “demonstrably erroneous decisions” — on same-sex marriage, gay intimacy and contraception — based on the logic of Friday’s opinion.

In Friday’s abortion decision, Roberts wrote that he was ready to sustain the Mississippi law at issue in the case, one that banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The only question before the court was whether that law was constitutional, and he said it was.

“But that is all I would say,” he wrote, “out of adherence to a simple yet fundamental principle of judicial restraint: If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, then it is necessary not to decide more.”

He chastised his colleagues on both sides of the issue for possessing unwarranted self-confidence.

“Both the court’s opinion and the dissent display a relentless freedom from doubt on the legal issue that I cannot share,” he wrote. “I am not sure, for example, that a ban on terminating a pregnancy from the moment of conception must be treated the same under the Constitution as a ban after 15 weeks.”

The failure of his proposed approach was telling, Larsen said.

“It sounds like the justices are talking past each other,” she said. “There is very little evidence of moderation or narrowing grounds to accommodate another’s point of view.”

The chief justice acknowledged that his proposed ruling was at odds with the part of Roe v. Wade that said states may not ban abortions before fetal viability, around 23 weeks. He was prepared to discard that line. “The court rightly rejects the arbitrary viability rule today,” he wrote, noting that many developed nations use a 12-week cutoff.

But there was more to Roe than the viability line, Roberts wrote. The court should have stopped short, he wrote, of taking “the dramatic step of altogether eliminating the abortion right first recognized in Roe.”

Alito rejected that approach.

“If we held only that Mississippi’s 15-week rule is constitutional, we would soon be called upon to pass on the constitutionality of a panoply of laws with shorter deadlines or no deadline at all,” he wrote. “The ‘measured course’ charted by the concurrence would be fraught with turmoil until the court answered the question that the concurrence seeks to defer.”

The chief justice’s proposal was characteristic of his cautious style, one that has fallen out of favor at the court.

“It is only where there is no valid narrower ground of decision that we should go on to address a broader issue, such as whether a constitutional decision should be overturned,” he wrote Friday, citing his opinion in a 2007 campaign finance decision that planted the seeds that blossomed into the Citizens United ruling in 2010.

That two-step approach was typical of Roberts.

The first step of the approach in 2007 frustrated Justice Antonin Scalia, who accused him in a concurrence of effectively overruling a major precedent “without saying so.”

“This faux judicial restraint is judicial obfuscation,” Scalia, who died in 2016, wrote at the time. But Scalia did not have the votes to insist on speed. Roberts’ current colleagues do.

At his confirmation hearing in 2005, Roberts said the Supreme Court should be wary of overturning precedents, in part because doing so threatens the court’s legitimacy.

“It is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent,” he said. “Precedent plays an important role in promoting stability and evenhandedness.”

He used similar language in criticizing the majority Friday.

“The court’s decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious jolt to the legal system — regardless of how you view those cases,” he wrote. “A narrower decision rejecting the misguided viability line would be markedly less unsettling, and nothing more is needed to decide this case.”

There are, to be sure, areas in which there is little or no daylight between Roberts and his more conservative colleagues, including race, religion, voting rights and campaign finance. In other areas, as in a death penalty decision Thursday, he may be able to forge a coalition with the three liberals and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

But Roberts, 67, may have a hard time protecting the institutional values he prizes. The court has been buffeted by plummeting approval ratings, by the leaked draft of Friday’s majority opinion, by revelations about the efforts of Virginia Thomas, the wife of Clarence Thomas, to overturn the 2020 election, and by Thomas’ failure to recuse himself from a related case.

Tensions are so high that federal officials arrested an armed man this month outside Kavanaugh’s home and charged him with trying to kill the justice. There have been protests outside the justices’ homes in anticipation of the Roe ruling. Ten days ago, Congress approved legislation extending police protection to the justices’ immediate families.

The climate — and a court that routinely divides along partisan lines in major cases — has increasingly undercut Roberts’ public assertions that the court is not political.

“We don’t work as Democrats or Republicans,” he said in 2016. Two years later, he reiterated that position in an extraordinary rebuke of President Donald Trump after Trump responded to an administration loss in a lower court by criticizing the judge who issued it as an “Obama judge.”

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said in a sharp public statement that nonetheless went against substantial evidence to the contrary even then.

On Friday, all three Democratic appointees voted to strike down the Mississippi law and all six Republican ones voted to uphold it.

His concurring opinion and his institutionalist impulses notwithstanding, Roberts may have a hard time convincing the public that party affiliations say nothing about how the justices conduct their work.

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, sends abortion back to the states

Yahoo! News

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, sends abortion back to the states

Jon Ward, Chief National Correspondent – June 24, 2022

Roe has fallen, and the fight over abortion in America will now rage on into a new and possibly even more polarizing and divisive chapter.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion, in one of the most momentous and controversial decisions of the past few decades.

The court’s conservative majority overturned the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade by a vote of 5-4. Roe had stood as one of the most debated rulings in the court’s history: revered by many women’s rights advocates and reviled by conservatives who believe abortion kills a human life.

Security fencing outside the Supreme Court.
Security fencing outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” read the majority opinion.

Under Roe and the court’s 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, states had not been allowed to enact bans on most abortions until after a pregnancy had reached the threshold of fetal viability, when it is believed that an unborn child could survive outside the womb. That viability threshold is about 23 or 24 weeks.

The abortion issue will now be decided state by state. Abortion will not be outlawed across the country. Some states will now expand access to the procedure.

“Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens,” read the dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

In at least 15 states abortion will be illegal. Most of these states — across the South, the Midwest and the Mountain West — have “trigger” laws in place that will now ban the procedure. The new laws will take effect within a few days in some places, and within a month in others.

The 15 states that are now expected to enact an outright ban on abortion are Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Three other states — Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina — are likely to ban abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. Two other states — Arizona and Florida — have passed 15-week bans this year.

That is a total of 20 states banning or limiting abortion within the first trimester or early in the second.

But others may join them. Iowa currently limits abortion after 22 weeks, and this month the state’s highest court said there is no right to abortion in Iowa’s Constitution. Republican lawmakers in the state are likely to try now to ban the procedure.

Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion activists outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion activists outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

And so there are about 20 states, and the District of Columbia, where abortion is likely to remain widely available — and fairly well along into a pregnancy.

President Biden, a supporter of abortion rights, is limited in what he can do in response to the ruling. There are marginal changes he can make to expand access through the Food and Drug Administration and through Medicaid.

Conversely, the overall impact on abortion rates may not be as dramatic as anti-abortion activists might be hoping for, which is likely to lead to the next round of political skirmishes over the issue.

“Absolute bans in red states probably won’t have the effect that the right-to-life movement expects … especially if blue states step up abortion funding, and especially given the difficulty of eliminating access to abortion medication,” wrote Mary Ziegler, a historian and attorney who has written five books about abortion law and politics, including “Dollars for Life,” which was released this month. “The question becomes what happens then.”

“Some conservative lawmakers will likely respond by trying to stop interstate travel for abortion or fighting for a nationwide ban — steps designed to eliminate abortion in progressive states,” she wrote.

Anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court. One man holds up a sign that reads: Goodbye, Roe.
Anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court on June 13. (Valerie Plesch/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Last December, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Dobbs case, Ziegler made the point even more sharply: “The right-to-life movement is aiming for the recognition of personhood and the outlawing of every abortion, nationwide. Roe is just the beginning,” she said then.

However, Justice Brett Kavanaugh signaled during those arguments that he does not believe the court can enact a nationwide ban. Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the court in 2018, described the state of Mississippi as arguing that “because the Constitution is neutral, that this court should be scrupulously neutral on the question of abortion.”

In his concurring opinion in the court’s final decision, Kavanaugh made this point even more explicitly.

“Because the Constitution is neutral on the issue of abortion, this Court also must be scrupulously neutral. The nine unelected Members of this Court do not possess the constitutional authority to override the democratic process and to decree either a pro-life or a pro-choice abortion policy for all 330 million people in the United States,” Kavanaugh wrote.

Since Chief Justice John Roberts wrote his own concurring opinion saying he supported a 15-week ban but did not support throwing out a right to abortion entirely, the court does not currently have a majority of judges who might even be open to enacting a nationwide ban on abortion.

It was clear last December, however, that the court was likely to dramatically weaken abortion protections, and even overturn Roe. But there was some thought that the court might enact a nationwide ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Then, in early May, a draft of the court’s opinion in Dobbs was leaked to a Politico reporter. Politico also reported that a majority of justices were prepared to rule that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided, and that states should decide the issue.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Justice Samuel Alito in 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the leaked draft opinion that the Roe ruling was “egregiously wrong from the start.”

It was not known for sure, however, that the court’s ruling would emerge in the same form as the leaked draft. However, the final decision that was released was largely the same.

Roe, Alito wrote in the final opinion, was “egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.”

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” he wrote.

The dissenting opinion said that under Roe and Casey, the court had “struck a balance” between Americans with “profoundly different views about the ‘moral[ity]’ of ‘terminating a pregnancy, even in its earliest stage.’”

“Today, the Court discards that balance. It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of,” the dissent said.

“Some States have enacted laws extending to all forms of abortion procedure, including taking medication in one’s own home. They have passed laws without any exceptions for when the woman is the victim of rape or incest. Under those laws, a woman will have to bear her rapist’s child or a young girl her father’s — no matter if doing so will destroy her life.

“… Most threatening of all, no language in today’s decision stops the Federal Government from prohibiting abortions nationwide, once again from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest,” the dissent said.

The liberal justices also expressed grave concern that other individual rights, to contraception and to “same-sex intimacy and marriage,” may be under threat from the conservative majority.

Now that the court has thrown Roe out, the American debate may become even more contentious, as the legal and political battles shift to a kaleidoscope of state legislatures and courts.

“Don’t believe [the Supreme Court] when the justices say this will deescalate debate about abortion,” Ziegler wrote. “That doesn’t seem to be where this is headed.”

Cover thumbnail photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

What will happen now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned

Dark Purple – Post Roe law will ban or severely restrict abortion

Blue – Abortion will be legal*

Red – Trigger law will ban all or nearly all abortions

Orange – Will Likely ban abortions

Light purple – Pre Roe law will ban abortions

Megan Rapinoe, sports world react to Supreme Court decision on abortion rights: ‘The cruelty is the point’

Yahoo! Sports

Megan Rapinoe, sports world react to Supreme Court decision on abortion rights: ‘The cruelty is the point’

Henry Bushnell and Chris Cwik – June 24, 2022

Athletes and sports organizations reacted, mostly with horror, to the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade and enable dozens of state laws that will criminalize abortions.

“This decision shows a branch of government that is so out of touch with the country and any sense of human dignity,” the WNBA players association said in a statement less than two hours after the Court officially ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Sue Bird tweeted that she was “gutted.” Her team, the Seattle Storm, said they were “furious and ready to fight.”

The WNBPA statement continued: “This ruling provides a treacherous pathway to abortion bans that reinforce economic, social and political inequalities and could lead to higher rates of maternal mortality while eviscerating rights to reproductive freedom for everybody.”

The NWSL players association also “strongly condemned” the decision — “a decision that effectively takes away a person’s right to make decisions about their own body, a basic human right at the core of every aspect of life,” the NWSLPA said in a statement later Friday afternoon.

Megan Rapinoe delivers emotional response, call to action

Individual soccer players also spoke out against the ruling while in camp with the U.S. women’s national team. On a previously-scheduled Zoom call with reporters Friday afternoon, midfielder Lindsey Horan said she was “still a little bit shocked,” and called it a “step backwards for our country.”

Forward Megan Rapinoe, who was not originally slated to meet with reporters, asked to speak in light of the Court’s ruling, and wiped away tears as she described a “disheartening,” “infuriating” and “scary day.”

In an unscripted opening statement that lasted more than nine minutes, she stressed that the decision will hit various groups of marginalized women most forcefully.

“We know that this will disproportionately affect poor women, Black women, Brown women, immigrants, women in abusive relationships, women who have been raped, women and girls who have been raped by family members — [or] who, you know what, maybe just didn’t make the best choice,” she said.

“And that’s no reason to be forced to have a pregnancy. It will completely exacerbate so many of the existing inequalities that we have in our country. It doesn’t keep not one single person safer. It doesn’t keep not one single child safer, certainly. And it does not keep one single — inclusive term — woman safer. We know that the lack of abortion [rights] does not stop people from having abortions, it stops people from having safe abortions.”

Rapinoe also responded emotionally to the concern — sparked by Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Friday’s ruling — that the Court could ultimately overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, which protects same-sex marriage, and other landmark rulings as well:

“I absolutely think gay rights are under attack, I absolutely think we will see legislation pop up state by state by state that will eventually come to this radical court. I have zero faith that my rights will be upheld by the court. I have faith in our country, and I have faith in people, and I have faith in the voters. And if you ever needed a f*cking motivation to vote, to get involved — quite literally, people’s lives depend on it. Actual lives. We’re talking life and death, and also your life in terms of, what does it mean to even be alive? If you can’t be your full self, what the f*ck is the point?”

She also explained why she doesn’t view the ruling as “pro-life,” pointing to other areas — such as healthcare — that will be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.

“I just can’t understate how sad, and how cruel this is. I think the cruelty is the point. Because this is not pro-life by any means. This way of thinking, or political belief, is coupled with a complete lack of motivation around gun laws, it comes with pro-death penalty, it comes with anti-healthcare, anti-prenatal care, anti-childcare, anti-pre-K, anti-food assistance, anti-welfare, anti-education, anti-maternity leave, anti-paternity leave.

“This is not pro-life. And it’s very frustrating and disheartening, and frankly just infuriating to hear that be the reason that people are wanting to end abortion rights, and end this vital aspect of a woman’s — not only healthcare and general basic safety in this country, but her bodily autonomy, and the right to freedom, and the pursuit of happiness and liberty, is being assaulted in this instance. And it’s just incredibly disheartening.”

She concluded with a call to men who’ve “been silent” on abortion rights. “Stand up,” she said. “Say something.”

She pointed out that the decision was made by a majority-male court, and that the many systems and laws that discriminate against women in the U.S. were created by men.

“You are allowing a violent and consistent onslaught on the autonomy of women’s bodies, on women’s rights, on women’s minds, on our hearts, on our souls,” Rapinoe said when asked what her message to men, as a monolith, would be. “We live in a country that forever tries to chip away at what you have enabled, at what you have been privileged enough to feel your entire life.

“You also have the opportunity to do better every single day. You have the opportunity to show up, make your voices heard, whether that’s in the workplace, on a media zoom, in stadiums, in your family, the way that you vote. It is not a women’s issue. It is everyone’s issue.”

Other prominent athletes speak out on Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

Several athletes past and present referenced the timing of the decision, one day after the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the watershed law that helped spark a decades-long women’s sports boom. “Yesterday we celebrated Title IX,” Orlando Magic guard Devin Cannady tweeted. “Today we tell these same women that they don’t have the freedom to make decisions about their own body.

“I’m sick for you, I stand with you,” Cannady wrote. “This country needs to be better, this sh*t is so backwards.”

Several teams and leagues responded with incisive statements, including the NBA and WNBA, which vowed to ensure access to reproductive health care for their employees.

“The NBA and WNBA believe that women should be able to make their own decisions concerning their health care and future, and we believe that freedom must be protected,” the joint statement reads. “We will continue to advocate for gender and health equity, including ensuring our employees have access to reproductive health care regardless of their location.”

In the NWSL, the Kansas City Current said they were “heartbroken.” The OL Reign said they “fiercely oppose the decision.” Gotham FC said it “vehemently objects to any rollback of Roe v. Wade and believes reproductive rights are human rights.”

The NWSL released its own statement, saying the ruling denies individuals “liberty and equality.”

“The Supreme Court’s ruling today denies individuals in this country the full liberty and equality that is the cornerstone of a just society. Reproductive rights are human rights. Until every individual has the same freedoms as their neighbor, our work is not done. We will continue to make our voices heard. The NWSL is more than just a soccer league; we are a collective who will stand up every day for what is right.”

While most strong statements came from women’s leagues and teams, the Seattle Sounders of MLS said they “believe in the right to autonomy over our bodies, and the right to choose.” Their goalkeeper, Stefan Frei, tweeted that “our country is actively moving in the wrong direction.”

Orlando City, in a joint statement with the NWSL’s Orlando Pride, said that this autonomy, and access to safe reproductive healthcare, were “basic, nonnegotiable human rights, and our club deeply objects to today’s Supreme Court decision.”

“Today’s reversal of Roe v. Wade is one that will not only put many at risk, disproportionately those in BIPOC and underserved communities, but is one that opens the door for future discrimination and civil rights violations of other marginalized groups,” the two Orlando clubs continued.

“Defending human rights is a battle that we will continue to fight, both for those impacted today, and for those who may be targeted in the future.”

John Mellencamp slams politicians for not doing more to prevent gun violence: ‘They don’t give a f*** about our children’

Yahoo! Entertainment

John Mellencamp slams politicians for not doing more to prevent gun violence: ‘They don’t give a f*** about our children’

Suzy Byrne, Editor Yahoo Entertainment – June 22, 2022

John Mellencamp is slamming lawmakers for not doing more to stop school shootings.

The “Small Town” singer criticized politicians over their response to gun violence, saying they “don’t give a f*** about our children.”

“Only, in America, can 21 people be murdered and a week later be buried and forgotten, with a flimsy little thumbnail, a vague notion of some sort of gun control law laying on the senators’ desks,” the 70-year-old musician and painter wrote on Twitter Tuesday, referring to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting on May 24.

“What kind of people are we who claim that we care about pro-life?” he continued. Just so you know, anyone that’s reading this… politicians don’t give a f*** about you, they don’t give a f*** about me, and they don’t give a f*** about our children.”

He concluded, “So, with that cheery thought in mind, have a happy summer, because it will be just a short time before it happens again.”

Mellencamp’s comments came on Tuesday as the Senate voted to advance a new bipartisan gun control bill. It would enhance background checks and give authorities up to 10 business days to review the juvenile and mental health records of gun purchasers under 21. Funding would also go to help states implement red flag laws as well as to expand mental health resources in communities and schools and boost school safety, among other things.

It would not include raising the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon from 18 to 21 or banning high-capacity magazines like the House of Representatives bills approved earlier this month.

The Uvalde shooter legally purchased an AR-15-style rifle on May 17 — one day after he turned 18. Three days later, he purchased a second rifle, and in between bought 375 rounds of ammunition. On May 24, he killed19 fourth graders and two teachers at Robb Elementary. The gunman also shot his grandmother in the face.

Mellencamp has long spoken out against gun violence, joining 200 other artists and music execs in 2016 in calling for gun reform in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Following the Uvalde shooting, he said on MSNBC’s The Beat last week that news outlets should start showing the carnage of school shootings to open the eyes of those resisting reform.

“I don’t know if you’re old enough, but I remember when Vietnam first started, and it was a conversation on the news,” the father of five said. “But then, when they started showing dead teenagers, people did something about it, and the country united. I think that we need to start showing the carnage of these kids who have died in vain… If we don’t show it, then they’re dying in vain, because they’re just going to pass more bulls*** laws like they’re trying to get through now. Show us. Let the country see what a machine gun can do to a kid’s head.”

Pence Says He’s Never Seen a President Lie as Much as … Biden

Rolling Stone

Pence Says He’s Never Seen a President Lie as Much as … Biden

Ryan Bort – June 20, 2022

Former VP Pence Joins Brian Kemp At Rally On Eve Of Georgia Primary - Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Former VP Pence Joins Brian Kemp At Rally On Eve Of Georgia Primary – Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump knew his supporters were storming the Capitol last Jan. 6 when he tweeted that Mike Pence lacked “courage,” causing the rioters to “surge,” according to the Jan. 6 committee. The committee also revealed that the Proud Boys, the extremist militia Trump told to “stand back and stand by,” intended to kill Pence during the attack if they had the chance. Some in the crowd chanted for Pence to be hung for his failure to illegally stop the certification of the Electoral College. Upon hearing the news, Trump said Pence “deserved” it.

A violent mob calling for the vice president’s head is one of many terrifying consequences of the Big Lie that the 2020 election was rigged, which may be the most outlandish, traitorous fabrication in American history. Pence’s refusal to accept this fabrication when it mattered most all but destroyed his standing in the Republican Party, in addition to almost getting him killed.

Pence on Monday said he’s never seen a president who doles out so many falsehoods as … Joe Biden.

“Have you ever seen a president who refused to accept blame and commits so many falsehoods — I’m being very polite here calling it falsehoods — who on any given day is out there saying stuff that just isn’t true?” Larry Kudlow of Fox Business asked Pence of President Biden. “Have you ever seen anything like that?”

“Never in my lifetime,” Pence replied. “I said today that there has never been a time in my life when a president was more disconnected from the American people.”

Again, Kudlow and Pence are talking about Biden here.

The exchange is astonishing given everything the Jan. 6 committee has revealed over the course of its first three public hearings, the last of which focused on Trump’s pressured campaign to convince Pence to illegally block the certification of the election results. Trump allegedly called Pence a “pussy” as he refused to do so on the morning of the riot.

Pence’s refusal to acknowledge that he did the bidding of the most pathological liar anyone could have ever imagined would occupy the Oval Office may be astonishing, but it isn’t really that surprising, considering he clearly has designs on a future in Republican politics. If he’s going to win over the GOP before then — not to mention the Trump supporters who literally want to kill him — he’s going to have to paint Biden as the devil incarnate at every turn. If that means going easy on the man who said he deserved to be executed, so be it. It’s a small price to pay for having absolutely no chance at winning two years from now.

Trump meant to ‘accelerate the violence’ against Pence

THe Hill

Jan. 6 panel member: Trump meant to ‘accelerate the violence’ against Pence

Monique Beals – June 19, 2022

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) on Sunday said that former President Trump intended to “accelerate the violence” against his vice president, Mike Pence, during the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

“You know, when he sent out the tweet attacking his vice president, he already knew that the violence was underway,” Lofgren said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” of Trump, who tweeted that “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what was necessary” just after the attack began.

“The only conclusion you can reach is that he intended to accelerate that violence against the former vice president,” she continued.

Lofgren, who is a member of the House committee investigating the attack, went on to explain the lasting impact of the Jan. 6 attack in terms of lawmakers’ and the general public’s safety.

“We’re in a very rough time in America right now,” she said. “All of us elected officials but also just Americans and their neighbors need to stand up for the rule of law and against political violence. It’s not what America is about.”

Her comments come after Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) last week said Trump was aware of the violence at the Capitol when he tweeted about Pence.

“[Trump] knew that there was violence and he still tweeted the vice president ‘didn’t have the courage to do what was necessary,’” Aguilar said.

During the attack, Pence was overseeing the certification of the election results in the Senate, and some rioters at the scene chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” based on the belief that the vice president was unwilling to overturn Trump’s election defeat.

Pence was later evacuated from the building after the rioters breached the Capitol.

The most recent committee hearing on Thursday focused on the pressure campaign put on Pence by Trump and his allies to reject certifying the 2020 Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, which the vice president determined he did not have the legal authority to do.

79 years after a brutal battle to oust the Japanese, a remote piece of US territory is the center of attention again

Business Insider

79 years after a brutal battle to oust the Japanese, a remote piece of US territory is the center of attention again

Benjamin Brimelow – June 19, 2022

Attu Aleutian Alaska invasion Japan World War II
US soldiers and equipment land on the beach at Massacre Bay on Attu Island, May 26, 1943.(AP Photo/US Navy)
  • In May 1943, US soldiers launched a brutal fight to retake the islands of Attu and Kiska from the Japanese.
  • The remote islands, part of Alaska’s Aleutian chain, were important for operations in the Pacific.
  • Now, with the US focusing more on the Pacific and the Arctic, Alaska has renewed military importance.

On May 11, 1943, American soldiers began landing on the island of Attu, which, along with the neighboring island of Kiska, had been seized by Japanese troops a year earlier.

Attu is the westernmost point in Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain, some 1,500 miles from Anchorage. Its occupation by Japan was the first time since the War of 1812 that US territory had been seized by a foreign power.

The Japanese troops who landed on the islands were the northernmost arm of a larger operation that included the forces sent to attack and occupy Midway Island in the Central Pacific. Having turned back the Japanese advance, the US sent a massive force to retake the islands in mid-1943.

Instead of the three days of fighting that the Americans expected, the battle for Attu turned into a three-week slog.

Now, 79 years later, the Aleutian Islands and Alaska have renewed importance for the US, as the increasing accessibility of the Arctic is making the region a venue for competition with Russia and China.

Aleutian Islands campaign
Aleutian island
US military bases in the Aleutians as of August 1942.Wikimedia Commons

Japan seized Kiska and Attu in June 1942, exactly six months attacking Pearl Harbor. Their landings were preceded by air raids on nearby Dutch Harbor, which killed 43 US personnel and destroyed 11 planes.

Japan’s goals in the Aleutians were twofold: distract the Americans before the planned invasion of Midway and prevent them from using the sparsely populated islands as forward outposts.

Within months of arriving, the Japanese had deployed thousands of troops to the islands and built fortifications and critical infrastructure, including bunkers and tunnels. Harbor facilities and an airstrip were also built on Kiska.

The US military increased its footprint in Alaska when it realized the importance of the area and its lack of defenses there. When Kiska and Attu were seized, Alaska Defense Command had just 24,000 troops at its disposal. By January 1943, it had 94,000.

By the end of February 1943, US troops had landed on nearby islands and built airfields from which to conduct bombing raids on Attu and Kiska. By mid-March, a US Navy blockade had cut the Japanese garrisons off from resupply and reinforcement.

On April 1, US commanders authorized the invasion of Attu. Dubbed “Operation Landcrab,” the objective was to defeat the smaller Japanese garrison on Attu before turning to Kiska.

‘Attacking a pillbox by way of a tightrope’
Attu Aleutian Alaska Japan invasion World War II
US soldiers with guns and grenades close in on Japanese troops in dugouts on Attu Island in June 1943.(AP Photo)

The first landings on May 11, which were preceded by air and naval bombardment, were unopposed, leading many to believe victory was imminent.

In fact, the garrison of more than 2,500 Japanese troops had prepared defenses farther inland and waited for the Americans to advance before ambushing them in small groups — a preview of what American troops would face on Iwo Jima and Okinawa a year later.

Making matters worse, the Americans soon found that they were fighting two enemies, the Japanese and the weather. Attu is covered in fog, rain, or snow for about 250 days of the year, with winds up to 120 mph.

Many US troops were without appropriate winter gear and suffered frostbite, gangrene, and trench foot. “It was rugged,” Lt. Donald E. Dwinnell said. “The whole damned deal was rugged, like attacking a pillbox by way of a tightrope … in winter.”

The Americans pressed on, seizing the high ground and pushing the Japanese into a few areas along the shore.

Attu Aleutian Alaska Japan invasion world war ii
US Army reinforcements land on a beach in Attu, June 23, 1943.(AP Photo)

On May 29, with defeat looming, the last Japanese troops able to fight conducted a massive banzai charge with the goal of seizing high ground, using captured artillery against American troops, and retreating back to their own fortifications with captured food and supplies.

In what one American soldier described as “a madness of noise and confusion and deadliness,” some 800 Japanese soldiers penetrated the main American line and reached rear areas. The fighting was intense and included hand-to-hand combat, but the Americans rallied and pushed the Japanese back.

By May 30, the Island was secure. At least 2,351 Japanese bodies were recovered and buried by the Americans. As on other islands recaptured from the Japanese, many defenders killed themselves rather than accept defeat. Only 28 Japanese soldiers surrendered.

The fighting was so intense that the Japanese secretly withdrew from Kiska under the cover of fog and darkness at the end of July. Despite the Japanese departure, US and Canadian troops still took casualties from booby traps, friendly fire, and the harsh environment when they landed on Kiska in mid-August.

In total, 549 US soldiers were killed and 1,148 wounded during the Aleutian Campaign.

Newfound importance
During a routine maritime patrol in the Bering Sea and Arctic region, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf spotted and established radio contact with Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) task force in international waters within the U.S. exclusive economic zone, Aug. 30, 2021
US Coast Guard cutter Bertholf trailing Chinese navy ships in international waters in the Bering Sea, August 30, 2021.US Coast Guard photo by Ensign Bridget Boyle

Given its proximity to the Soviet Union, Alaska remained important during the Cold War, especially for air and missile defense, but memories of the World War II campaign largely faded over the following decades.

Today, with the US reorienting toward great-power competition, and with the region growing more accessible, Alaska’s significance for military operations is getting renewed attention, which has been reflected in recent activity there.

In 2007, Russia restarted long-range bomber patrols that sometimes enter the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, which surrounds the state but is not US territorial airspace. In 2020, US officials said intercepts of those flights were at the highest level since the Cold War.

Russian naval activity around Alaska has also increased. A massive drill in 2020 saw 50 Russian warships operating in the US exclusive economic zone, which stretches some 200 miles from the US coast, where they had run-ins with US fishing vessels.

China has also expressed interest in the Arctic. It has declared itself a “near-Arctic state” and is growing its icebreaker fleet. Chinese warships operated off Alaska for the first time in 2015, and four Chinese warships appeared off the Aleutian Islands again in August 2021.

US special operations with Stinger on Shemya
With the Cobra Dane radar in the background, US special-operations troops train with a Stinger missile on Shemya Island, October 2021.US Special Operations Command

The US military is bolstering its posture in Alaska. The Army has revamped its forces there, reestablishing the 11th Airborne Division and investing in new equipment and expanded training.

The Air Force, which has long had the largest Arctic presence of any US service branch, has added dozens of fifth-generation fighter jets to bases there. The Marine Corps has expressed interest in increasing its training in Alaska, and the Navy is looking to build out its operations there with a new deep-water port in Nome.

Alaska’s renewed importance extends to the Aleutians. In 2019, US sailors and Marines trained on Adak Island, which is south of the increasingly busy Bering Strait and once housed a major US Navy base.

In late 2020, US special operators deployed to Shemya Island — which is closer to Russia than to the mainland US — to practice “securing key terrain and critical infrastructure.”

With Arctic ice receding and Russian and Chinese activity increasing, Alaska’s importance for the US military will only grow in the years ahead.

One Surprising Theory Why the Philippines Has Very Few Mass Shootings—Despite Easy Access to Lots of Guns

Time

One Surprising Theory Why the Philippines Has Very Few Mass Shootings—Despite Easy Access to Lots of Guns

Chad de Guzman / Manila – June 15, 2022

Shop assistants pose with various handgu
Shop assistants pose with various handgu

Shop assistants pose with various handguns at the Defense and Sporting Arms show at a shopping mall in Manila on July 16, 2009. Credit – TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images

Mass shootings are a result of a confluence of factors, but at the heart of the problem are guns—of which the Philippines has plenty. Firearms are sold openly in malls, and almost anyone can carry them, even priests and accountants.

Fixers can reportedly take care of formalities standing in the way of gun ownership, such as drug and psychological tests, and there are estimated to be some four million firearms in the nation of 110 million people. Hundreds of thousands of weapons are illegally owned. Poverty, corruption, crime, and outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs have left deep social scars.

No consensus has been reached in the Philippines over what sets a mass shooting apart from other gun deaths, but indiscriminate slayings are uncommon. When eight people died and 11 were injured after a drunk gunman began firing wildly in the southern province of Cavite back in 2013, the tragedy was notable for its sheer rarity.

To be clear, homicides involving firearms are a fact of life in the Philippines. Hitmen can be hired for as little as $300. In fact, the Philippines is one of the deadliest places in Asia when it comes to firearm homicides. The country saw over 1,200 intentional killings using firearms in 2019. This meant guns killed one in every 100,000 people in the Southeast Asian country—one of the highest rates in Asia. (In 2020, the comparable figure for the U.S. is four.)

From the Archives: Inside Rodrigo Duterte’s Drug War

Elections can be particularly bloody times, with lethal attacks on poll officers and political rivals. One of the country’s worst killings, the 2009 Maguindanao massacre of 58 people, took place during a gubernatorial election. But it was a political atrocity. Shootings not related to politics or crime are uncommon—and there has been nothing as extreme as Columbine, Sandy Hook, or Uvalde.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” says Gerry Caño, Dean of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Cagayan de Oro College. “I think our authorities and the public safety practitioners are just waiting for that time to happen, considering that Philippine culture is greatly influenced by the West, particularly the United States.”

For now, though, powerful social factors continue to have a restraining effect on indiscriminate violence. Philippine academic Raymund Narag, a criminology associate professor at Southern Illinois University and a former prisoner himself, says mass shootings in his native country are in part deterred by hiyâ, a Tagalog word meaning shame or embarrassment. Avoidance of hiyâ, and sparing one’s family and community from it, is often described as a core Philippine value.

“It reflects on you, and reflects on your family,” Narag says. “When I was jailed, our entire clan felt humiliated.”

Visitors view displayed firearms during the Tactical, Survival and Arms Expo in Pasay City, the Philippines, Nov.15, 2019.<span class="copyright">Rouelle Umali/Xinhua via Getty</span>
Visitors view displayed firearms during the Tactical, Survival and Arms Expo in Pasay City, the Philippines, Nov.15, 2019.Rouelle Umali/Xinhua via Getty
Gun culture in the Philippines

While the right to bear arms isn’t enshrined in the nation’s constitution, as it is in the United States, there is no denying the Philippine love of guns.

When the U.S. colonized the Philippines in the early 1900s, private citizens were allowed to own high-powered guns for “lawful purposes” and hunting. After Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, owners were limited to one low-powered rifle and a pistol or revolver—and both had to be licensed. But in 2000, President Joseph Estrada lifted these limits and allowed citizens to possess as many guns as they wanted, of any type and caliber.

A 2013 law set down qualifications for owning guns and carrying them in public. Licensed gun owners had to be 21 years old and take a firearm safety seminar, among other requirements. Depending on their license, most owners could possess up to 15 handguns, rifles and shotguns (collectors are allowed more than 15). Licenses were issued for as long as 10 years.

Before he was president, Estrada was a gun-wielding hero in action movies—a genre beloved of Filipinos for playing up machismo and depicting shootouts as legitimate forms of defense in a crime-riddled country. The action movie craze certainly helped Filipinos embrace gun culture.

Read More: These Countries Restricted Assault Weapons After Just One Mass Shooting

In some of the country’s poorest communities, guns became a common sight among warring gangs, who sourced low-priced firearms from illegal sellers. Shooting clubs opened for those with more money and an interest in shooting for sport. Many affluent Filipinos took up gun collecting, while the wealthiest citizens began enthusiastically arming their bodyguards.

But despite the glorification of firearms, when gun violence takes place, the victims are rarely random bystanders in movie theaters or shopping malls. Almost a quarter of the Philippine population falls below the poverty line and “the money or the reward seems to be the best motivating factor” in many homicide cases involving firearms, Caño says.

In January, a provincial hitman admitted to committing his crime in exchange for $500 to help his child, who was suffering from meningitis. In April, another gunman confessed to killing a mechanic for $400.

Displaced children playing with wooden toy guns inside a temporary shelter area in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on August 22, 2018, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, southern Philippines.<span class="copyright">Jes Aznar/Getty Images</span>
Displaced children playing with wooden toy guns inside a temporary shelter area in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on August 22, 2018, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, southern Philippines.Jes Aznar/Getty Images
How hiyâ plays a role in social control

Narag says the strong ties of Philippine kinship mean troubled individuals are more likely to be identified before they become mass shooters. He contrasts that with the situation in the U.S., where he presently lives and teaches.

“Here, if you have problems, you have to go to a health professional,” he tells TIME. “You’ll divulge everything there. You don’t talk to your neighbors—sometimes you don’t talk to your own parents—because [there isn’t] an engaged culture where one’s problem is everyone’s problem.”

Jose Antonio Clemente, a professor of social psychology at the University of the Philippines, says community is everything. “At an early age, we are trained to give importance to our families and our relationships,” he says. “Maybe at some point we’re also taught to value our community, since there are a lot of communities that are very close-knit because of the high population density.”

Read More: We Need to Take Action to Address the Mental Health Crisis

National police do have mass shooting protocols in place. Authorities have also suggested an increased police presence on college campuses to deter insurgent groups from recruiting students. But it seems that ingrained values in the Philippines are restraining people from using guns indiscriminately.

Whether that is enough is up for debate. For now, however, hiyâ means you cannot “just start shooting people,” Narag says. “Because if that happens, you know the community won’t support you.”